President Barack Obama’s second to last official Hollywood fundraiser was a high priced but low-key affair with his top contributor Jeffrey Katzenberg and wife Marilyn tonight – with a lot of emotions in the air.
Though the $100,000 a ticket roundtable event was a private affair for the Hillary Victory Fund, I’ve learned that long time Democratic supporters and past repeat Obama contributors JJ Abrams and spouse Katie McGrath were there. Just over a year ago, the Star Wars director and his wife hosted the President at their home for a $33,400 a ticket roundtable event. Also among the deep pocket attendees at the Katzenbergs’ tonight was superlawyer Skip Brittenham of Ziffren Brittenham.
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“It was actually somewhat emotional with the history this group have with the President,” one guest told Deadline of the 6 PM starting evening. “Many of us know this will be the last time we’ll see him while he’s still in office.”
Like many a past visit to L.A. for Obama, the relatively intimate setting at the Katzenberg’s Beverly Hills pad saw POTUS sitting down with near one-on-ones. Unlike many of those past events at the home of the ex-DreamWorks Animation boss and others, tonight was closed media. It was also a Hollywood ATM swan song of sorts for a President who has gotten a lot of dough out of this town for his own campaigns and those of fellow Democrats over the years.
With around $3 million raised for the HFC tonight out of his core donor base, this was the President’s 42nd Tinseltown fundraiser since taking office in January 2009. A $33,400 a ticket event at Ryan Murphy’s tomorrow morning will be the 43rd and and very likely last H’wood cash-in for the 44th POTUS – with the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump now a mere two weeks away from Election night. To that end, expect a lot of road closures around Bev Hills Tuesday morning with the trip to the American Horror Story co-creator’s home and the subsequent drive of the motorcade out to LAX and Air Force One.
BTW – Tinseltown political fixer Andy Spahn and Jennifer Perry were among the co-hosts breaking bread with POTUS tonight, as were past big contributors Crystal and Chris Sacca in a co-host capacity too.
Earlier in the day, the President swung by Jimmy Kimmel Live! after flying into LAX and choppering over to Burbank. A big fan of the late night platform, Obama’s return to the ABC host’s Hollywood studio looks to be the last time for him there too.
After leaving the Katzenbergs around 7:30 PM, Obama did a drive by visit to the nearby home of White House interior designer Michael Smith to hang with some non-paying pals. Usually overseas in Madrid, Smith is the partner of former HBO exec and current U.S Ambassador to Spain James Costos – who was named to the gig by the President in 2013.
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